Sunday, 6 November 2011

The first serving! A soup to warm the soul and tingle the nose...

Ok so this is my first post.  We're in November, the nights have drawn in, and it's starting to get really rather cold.  Perfect time for a spot of soup making!  And not just any soup, but one that warms the soul and makes your nose tingle.  It's also incredibly cheap (which of course appeases my 'economical' Forest of Dean upbringing).  I think the whole lot cost about £2.50 to make, if not less.

After having a look through my cookery books, I found the obvious candidate.  It's adapted from Diana Henry's recent publication 'Food from Plenty' and I have to say it's the best soup I've ever made.  Don't be scared by the long list if ingredients - it doesn't take long to pull together and the result is sensational.  So, here you go...

Ethiopian spiced pumpkin soup
Serves at least 4

For the hot spice powder
2 tsp cumin seeds
8 cloves
1 tsp cardamon seeds
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tbsp paprika

For the soup
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
5cm fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
750g pumpkin or squash, peeled and cut into 2-3cm chunks
3 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp salt

To serve
Greek yogurt
Small bunch chopped coriander

1. To make the hot spice powder, toast the cumin, cloves, cardamom, peppercorns, fenugreek and coriander in a dry frying pan over a medium heat for about 2 minutes, shaking the pan often, to release the aroma.  Cool, then grind to a fine powder in a pestle and mortar and then add the ground ginger, allspice, turmeric, salt, cinnamon and paprika.
2.  Heat a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the oil.  Cook the onions until quite soft and pale gold, then stir in the fresh ginger and 2 tsp on the hot spice powder and cook for two minutes.  Add the pumpkin or squash and coat with the spices.  Add the tomato puree, salt and 600ml of water.  Stir, cover and bring to the boil.
3.  Simmer for at least half an hour, though ideally three quarters, or until the pumpkin of squah is soft.  If you prefer the soup thicker (which I do), remove a few pieces of the pumpkin, mash and return to the pot.  Check for seasoning and turn with greek yogurt and chopped coriander, and large chunks of white, thickly buttered bread. :-)


  1. You better keep this up, 'cos I am following now!

  2. That's what I'm talking about Peter my man! Any tips for me?